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I'm trying to learn basic systemd usage and I've run into a confusing issue with user service units.

When running ordinary services with systemctl start some.service I can find the full log for this service (including what it has printed to stdout / stderr, as I understand it) by running sudo journalctl --unit some.service.

Consider the example servicefile chatty.service:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/echo "test from chatty.service"

When I place this service file in ~/.config/systemd/user/chatty.service and run it with systemctl --user start chatty.service I cannot find its output sent to stdout in journalctl, neither with plain journalctl nor with journalctl --user. I only get the following output in both:

Jan 15 19:16:52 qbd-x230-suse.site systemd[1168]: Starting chatty.service...
Jan 15 19:16:52 qbd-x230-suse.site systemd[1168]: Started chatty.service.

And journalctl --unit chatty.service does not return anything at all (with or without --user makes no difference).

While if I move the same service file to /etc/systemd/system and run it with sudo systemd start chatty.service I then get the following output when I run sudo journalctl --unit chatty.service:

Jan 15 19:28:08 qbd-x230-suse.site systemd[1]: Starting chatty.service...
Jan 15 19:28:08 qbd-x230-suse.site systemd[1]: Started chatty.service.
Jan 15 19:28:08 qbd-x230-suse.site echo[27098]: test from chatty.service

It seems like the user service unit isn't as well integrated somehow, is this expected, am I missing something or is it a bug?

I am running openSUSE 13.1 x86-64, with systemd 208 (default install).

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Same systemd 208 here on Arch Linux. You can use journalctl --user --user-unit chatty to get those start/stop messages from systemd, but not what the echo process outputs, at least in my case. You can get the echoed message with journalctl --user or use some other filter. – lilydjwg Jan 22 '14 at 17:11

I was able to view output of the service using:

$ journalctl -f

Playing around with journalctl some more, I stumbled upon:

$ journalctl --user-unit chatty

and that seemed to work.

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Are you getting the "test from chatty.service" stdout message in the log output as well, or just the "Starting chatty.service..." and "Started chatty.service." messages? – Quantumboredom Mar 28 '14 at 18:34
Yes, I was able to get the output from the process as well (i.e. the "test from chatty.service" message). – denaje Mar 29 '14 at 13:15
That is what I was expecting as well, but I don't see it here. May I ask what operating system (with version) you are running? – Quantumboredom Mar 30 '14 at 12:31
Arch Linux 3.13.7-1. systemd version 212. – denaje Mar 31 '14 at 6:52
I see the output in the main journalctl now. But when I try running journalctl --user I get No journal files were found. And the journalctl --user-unit chatty didn't work for me. – CMCDragonkai Jul 22 '14 at 6:22

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